top of page
  • Writer's pictureThe Communiqués

Residential Aged Care Communiqué Volume 13 Issue 1 February 2018

In this edition

  • Editorial

  • Case #1: First Impressions

  • Case #2: Keeping warm in the sun

  • Commentary: An occupational therapist’s view

  • Commentary: A physiotherapist’s perspective

  • Commentary: Cervical-spine injuries in the elderly

  • List of ResourcesSave the date

  • Recommendations for prevention of injury-related deaths in residential aged care services


Welcome to 2018 which looks like it will be busier than last year for the whole aged care sector. This first issue of the year focuses on falls and is the third time in 10-years that we have addressed this perennial concern. The risk of falls confronts every older person, in every aged care facility, in every country. Despite some gains in prevention, and better post-fall management, the harm from falls remains a major cause of injury and injury-related deaths in older persons and residents.

It is also important to consider this in the context of the most recent release of the next draft by the Commonwealth Government concerning aged care quality standards. The general expectation is that this will be part of a package of legislative amendments to be tabled in Parliament later this month. Two of the ideas that the RAC-Communiqué and our research staff have long promoted are visible in the proposed standards around the, “Identification and management of high-impact or high-prevalence risks”, and, “Organisational systems for clinical governance, continuous improvement, risk management, monitoring abuse and neglect, restraint, etc.” (Proposed Standard 8).

This RAC-Communiqué edition addresses the most common cause of resident deaths from injury and illustrates how falls risks are both ‘high prevalence’ and have a ‘high impact’ for residents. Other examples of high risks are available to read in past editions of our back catalogue, while a discussion of the issues around clinical governance can be found in our March 2013 edition of the RAC-Communiqué (Volume 8, Issue 1). Once these new standards are ratified, our editorial team will identify how the past RAC-Communiqués assist in focussing residential aged care services on key concepts. It is an exciting time with the new standards strengthening the focus on providers being required to demonstrate systems for the delivery of safe and effective care to residents. The RAC-Communiqué will continue as an important educational resource to help us collectively achieve these goals.

The two cases in this edition highlight the need for robust post-falls management practice, greater awareness of circumstances that lead to falls, and the importance of good communication and documentation. There are three expert commentaries written by clinicians in practice. Craig Edlin is a senior physiotherapist who challenges his peers to be role models and leaders in the provision of care for older people in RACS. Sally Eastwood provides a view from an occupational therapist practicing in a range of hospital, community and RACS settings. Dr Chelsea Baird, a geriatrician, provides our third commentary with useful information about post-falls management.

There are some important dates to look out for this year in the aged care sector. The report of the Senate Community Affairs Reference Committee Inquiry, which is examining the effectiveness of the Aged Care Quality Assessment and Accreditation Framework for protecting residents from abuse and poor practices, and ensuring proper clinical and medical care standards are maintained and practised, is due this month.

Another area in the new standards that is of particular interest to our team is around the concepts of informed choice and the opportunity to take risks, “Where a consumer’s choice involves the risk to their health and/or safety, they are informed about the risk, the potential consequences to themselves and others, and how risk can be managed to assist the consumers to live the life they choose” (Proposed Standard 1.3).

We explore this idea in our next seminar, so mark FRIDAY, 15th JUNE, 2018 in your diary to attend the RACC seminar where our team will present on, “Protecting the rights, choices and freedoms of older people living in residential aged care facilities”. This will include a screening of ‘Dignity of Risk’, a short film by Prateek Bando, Jeremy Ley and Joseph E Ibrahim. The film won “Best Narrative Film Category” at the 2017 Global Impact Film Festival (GIDC), a dynamic independent film festival in Washington, DC. USA. The film also won selection laurels at another five festivals including the 20th UNAFF (United Nations Association Film Festival) in California USA.


bottom of page